Sunday, July 28, 2013

Windows 8 is Dead for the Enterprise

A recent Forrester report was entitled “IT Will Skip Windows 8 As The Enterprise Standard.” It said that most IT shops are still too focused on deploying Windows 7 to tackle Windows 8.

There are a couple of clarifications to be made here. First this statement is most likely true for the enterprise-class shops but the Small and Medium Business (SMB) shops don’t have much choice. The enterprise-class shops have Microsoft Enterprise Agreements (EAs) or Software Assurance (SA) that give them downgrade rights from Windows 8 to Windows 7. And their PC hardware vendors offer this downgrade service before the new PCs are delivered to the enterprise so the enterprise likely has not seen Windows 8. SMBs on the other hand have to buy through the Value Added Reseller (VAR) or even the retail market. The entry Windows 8 edition does not have downgrade rights.

Secondly, enterprise-class shops should be well on the way to replacing Windows XP systems with the looming end of support of April 8, 2014. With a 5 year replacement cycle they would have just 20% of PCs left on Windows XP. Even that is probably an acceptable risk and there’s still a year to go.

But back to the topic. What will be Windows 8’s role in the enterprise down the road?

Clearly Microsoft has hit some resistance in the forced march of Windows 8 to use the Modern UI (formerly known as Metro).

During a recent earnings call Microsoft's outgoing CFO Peter Klein said that Windows 8.1 (“Blue”) will address customer feedback that Microsoft has been collecting about Windows 8 and Windows RT. Subsequently Microsoft has stated that they will restore the Start button and provide a boot to desktop option.

This seems to address the biggest training issue that Windows 8 is facing in the enterprise but unfortunately it’s a day late and a dollar short. Enterprises are hunkered down doing their Windows XP to 7 migration and don’t want or need to look up.

Windows 7 end of Extended Support is January 14, 2020 so looking at a 5 year refresh cycle, enterprises don’t have to commit to a replacement until early 2015.

The Register reports "most businesses are upgrading to Windows 7, finally coming off of Windows XP, and not even remotely considering Windows 8. Overall, Windows 8 has sold so badly that analysts reckon it was responsible for the industry's worst PC sales since records began."

Microsoft seems to be on a much more rapid upgrade strategy with Windows 8 so this will give enterprises several opportunities to see where Windows 8 will be delivering business value before committing to an upgrade choice.

Microsoft has an advantage over Apple in that Microsoft’s strategy seems to be to converge the kernel and UI for Windows across PCs, tablets, and phones. Apple still has no extant strategy to converge Mac OS and iOS. Clearly Microsoft’s strategy will lower their development and maintenance costs but it is not yet obvious that that will give them a competitive advantage given the diminutive market share of Windows Phone 8 and Windows RT.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

When Clouds Go Bump Revisited

Remember last year when I discussed the various service failures of several cloud services?

A recent Dilbert cartoon hit the nail on the head.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

When Everyone Is Out To Get You

When everyone is out to get you, paranoia is just good thinking. - Dr. Johnny Fever

It seems like lately everybody is trying to stick their noses into your business. Here's a couple of the stories and how to slam the door on their noses!

The first was the NSA leak by Edward Snowden about a process known as PRISM. Here's the article from the Washington Post.

Next was that USPS is photographing the front of ALL snail mail. Here's the article from the New York Times.

Then AT&T announced that they were issuing a new privacy policy to "provide our customers with ... personalized service." That means they're going to start selling your your location data to marketers. Here's the article from the Business Insider. Here's how to turn it off.
  1. Start by clicking the following link, which leads to AT&T’s opt-out page:
  2. Log in with your phone number and password.
  3. You will now find yourself on AT&T’s privacy settings page, which includes the following blurb: “Our External Marketing and Analytics Reports contain anonymous information about groups of our customers. You may choose to exclude the anonymous information from your accounts from these reports. Please log in to each one of your accounts to opt-out.”
  4. Check the box next to each wireless phone line you wish to opt-out with.
  5. Click the “Submit” button.
Finally Twitter announced they were going to "make ... Twitter more useful to our users." Here's the article from Lifehacker. To turn off Twitter's new tracking:
  1. Log in to Twitter and visit your account settings page.
  2. Uncheck the box that says "Tailor Twitter based on my recent website visits."
  3. Uncheck the box that says "Tailor ads based on information shared by ad partners."
  4. Scroll down and click "Save Changes."
In 1999 Sun's Scott McNealy said "You have zero privacy anyway ...Get over it."